Fifteen people around Indiana have been indicted on Medicaid fraud-related charges, Attorney General Curtis Hill’s office announced Thursday, as part of a national crackdown involving state and federal agencies. The indictments alleged more than $1 million in fraud to Medicaid resulting from illegal activities from false billing and prescription abuses to money laundering.
The indictments were announced as the culmination of multiple investigations that were part of “Healthcare Fraud Takedown Week,” an initiative led by the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Other participating agencies included the Kentucky Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and three federal agencies – the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Internal Revenue Service. Indiana’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit was instrumental in the Indiana investigations.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and other federal officials Thursday announced more than 400 people had been indicted nationwide on health care fraud charges. The indictments allege total losses of more than $1.3 billion, according to the Associated Press.
The Indiana, the AG’s office announced these indictments:
- In Evansville, Med 1st Chiropractor Mitchel Stukey and Karen Poeling are accused of distributing and prescribing controlled substances using signed blank prescription pads, then attempting to launder the money obtained from this illegal activity. The result of a nearly five-year investigation by the DEA and the MCFU, Stukey and Poeling face five counts of health care fraud; conspiracy to violate the Controlled Substance Act; and conspiracy to commit money laundering. The alleged activities resulted in an estimated loss of $490,000 to the Indiana Medicaid program.
- Near Kokomo, Sunshine Transportation officials Shawn and Amanda McNew are accused of billing Indiana Medicaid nearly $449,000 for ambulance and health care trips that were never taken. Both were charged with violating the federal anti-kickback statute.
- Near New Albany, 28 money-laundering-related charges were leveled against former employees of JM Autism, more recently known as Total Spectrum. Those indicted are Janice Patterson, Tanesha Washington and Katerrell Kennedy. The indictment alleges damages to Medicaid exceeding $175,000.
- With offices in Marion and Johnson counties, Patient Access Transportation operator Raymond E. Massengill was at the center of one of the two investigations. He is charged with health care fraud for allegedly submitting 42 false claims for $15,762 to the Indiana Medicaid program for trips that were never taken.
- In Indianapolis, Castleton Integrative Health operator Ronald Sheppard was indicted on charges of conspiracy to violate the anti-kickback statute and money laundering. He is alleged to have been paid tens of thousands of dollars both directly and indirectly by certain pharmacies for referring compounded medication prescriptions. The indictment does not allege total damages to Medicaid.
- In Jeffersonville, Physicians Primary Care PLLC; Jeffrey Campbell, MD; Mark Dyer, RN/APN; and Dawn Antle, RN/APN are accused of conducting illegal activity such as distributing and prescribing controlled substances. The company or the individuals were indicted on as many as 21 charges, including distributing and prescribing controlled substances without legitimate medical purpose and outside professional medical practice; and fraudulent billing. The total loss to the Indiana Medicaid program has yet to be determined. The indictment does not allege total damages to Medicaid.
- In Fort Wayne, Dr. James E. Ranochak and two pharmacists, Brent Losier and Charles Ringger, all with North Anthony Pharmacy & Wellness Center, were indicted for allegedly conspiring to distribute and dispense controlled substances without legitimate medical purpose and fraudulent billing. The indictment does not allege total damages to Medicaid.
In 2016, the work of the attorney general office’s MFCU led to 47 convictions and the recovery of nearly $37 million in taxpayer funds.
“Medicaid fraud is not a victimless crime,” Hill said in a statement announcing the indictments. The AG’s office said those accused “repeatedly took advantage of society’s most fragile individuals and those for whom they supposedly were providing care – the disabled and less fortunate who rely on Medicaid.”
“When licensed professionals and organizations target those who rely on Medicaid, they’re also putting taxpayers on the hook. These actions truly impact all of us,” Hill said. “The culmination of these investigations is extremely rewarding for the investigators and lawyers in our Medicaid Fraud Control Unit who work tirelessly to bring these offenders to justice. I applaud their efforts.”